Sunday, April 16, 2017

Spring Break in Savannah, Georgia

Don and I celebrated a wedding anniversary this month. We started it in the best way possible, with two days of dance-lessons and West Coast Swing dancing with Robin Smith, a special-guest dance instructor at DanceSport VA on April 7th and 8th. Not only were the lessons useful, but we really enjoyed the music he picked for the social dances. The dance on Saturday night was a particularly fun party.

We spent most of Sunday on Amtrak, specifically on the Palmetto, from Rocky Mount to Savannah, Georgia. The station in Rocky Mount was historic and beautifully renovated. Parking was plentiful and easy, the station relaxing and basically a "blast from the past." We arrived in Savannah rather late in the evening, so we took a taxi to a Quality Inn in downtown Savannah. We did little more the first day besides grab a quick bit to eat at a local bar and check out the local dance scene and other attractions online.

Don is a train buff, so we spent most of Monday, April 10th, our first day in Savannah, at the Georgia State Railroad Museum. We walked there from our hotel and stopped at many historic sights and markers along the way, particularly the site and a memorial to the Battle of Savannah during the U.S. Revolutionary War. Don got very excited when we approached the museum, and he realized  we were standing outside of a roundhouse. A roundhouse is a yard or repair and maintenance center for old-fashioned steam-engine trains.

At the railroad museum, we watched a good documentary introduction to the historic site. We walked around the grounds, inspecting several types of steam and diesel-electric engines plus other types of passenger and other cars plus the machine-shops and other buildings that supported them. The museum is raising money to continue restoration and expansion of the site. They need millions of dollars, and Don and I hope they get it, because they're doing a fantastic job of preserving and explaining this vital part of the region's history. We toured two executive railcars, the roundhouse, the steam power demonstration and locomotion lab, and checked out the model train room. We learned a lot, got a ride on a hand-car, and plan to go back on Wednesday for an actual ride in a passenger car pulled by their "Number 30" Steam Engine, and 0-4-0T Switcher built in 1913 by the American Locomotive Works and fully restored. I'll post pictures below.

The turntable to turn the steam engines in the Roundhouse

The Georgia State Railroad Museum

The smokestack was once the tallest feature in Savannah

The smokestack w/ showers and latrines

Don w/ the hand car, which we later got to ride

This map shows the Central of Georgia rail lines c. 1950

More detail for the picture above

We receive a demonstration on the steam-engine tour

The number 8 engine, "The Mule"

The No. 30 Steam Engine used to give rides

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